Carlos Alcaraz acknowledged that Novak Djokovic missing the US Open probably played part in him winning it all at Flushing Meadows, but noted he doesn't want to take anything away from himself. Djokovic, 35, was denied entry into the United States because of his vaccination status, while Roger Federer wasn't ready to return from a knee surgery.
On the other side, Rafael Nadal made the US Open round-of-16 before losing to Frances Tiafoe. "Look, I don’t want to take credit away from myself but it’s true that Rafa, Djokovic, Federer, they were in a period when they were all playing.
I had the luck or whatever you want to call it that Djokovic could not play. Everybody has their reasons, but that is the reality," Alcaraz told The New York Times. "He could not play much for a while, and Rafa kept playing but not all year, either.
But like I said, I don’t want to take credit away from myself. I have been playing all season, playing incredible matches and incredible tournaments, and I’ve worked really hard so that things like this could happen."
Alcaraz became a Grand Slam champion, wrote tennis history
By beating Casper Ruud in the US Open final, Alcaraz lifted his first Grand Slam title and became the youngest No. 1 in tennis history. After winning his first Grand Slam at the age of 19 and becoming the top-ranked player in the world, Alcaraz showed his respect for the Big Three.
"It's incredible to be the youngest No. 1 ever. But it's much tougher what the Big 3 is doing: stay on top for 20 years. That's what I'm looking for. I don't wanna compare myself to them, but I wanna be like them," Alcaraz said.
Alcaraz has since returned to Spain, but he is not resting. This week, Alcaraz is trying to help Spain reach the Davis Cup Finals knockout stage.